NOTE: While Pastor Charlie is on a trip out of the country through June 5, he has chosen some of his favorite blog posts from his weblog from 2020 to 2021 to share.
From: July 10, 2020
14 I myself feel confident about you, my brothers and sisters, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, and able to instruct one another. 15 Nevertheless on some points I have written to you rather boldly by way of reminder, because of the grace given me by God 16 to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. 17 In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to boast of my work for God. 18 For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to win obedience from the Gentiles, by word and deed, 19 by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God, so that from Jerusalem and as far around as Illyricum I have fully proclaimed the good news of Christ. 20 Thus I make it my ambition to proclaim the good news, not where Christ has already been named, so that I do not build on someone else’s foundation, 21 but as it is written,
“Those who have never been told of him shall see, and those who have never heard of him shall understand.”
St. Paul writes to the church in Rome that there are some things that are worth boasting. But how is our boasting received?
A colleague shared with me about a time he decided to preach on how we perceive others. Before the service on Sunday, he put nametags in each of the bulletins. He told the congregation to not show anyone their nametags until later in the service. He preached on humility. When we come across as boastful and proud, that may sometimes get in the way of the message.
He then invited people to put the nametag from their bulletin onto the shirts or jackets, then walk around and greet one another in the church for a couple of minutes. The people soon realized there were two sets of nametags – half the people had a label that read, “I am always right!” and the others had the label that read “I may be wrong.”
He said the lesson worked – people laughed about it, but got the idea that how we come across can affect the message.
That came more to light from him when he stopped at the grocery store on the way home. As his items were being scanned by the cashier, she seemed to be upset, and refused to make eye contact with my friend. He tried to engage her in some small talk, but she was not interested in joining in. She seemed put off by something, and he didn’t quite understand.
Until he got home that afternoon and looked in the mirror. He noticed he still had the nametag on from church – it read, “I am always right!”
While Paul is ready to boast in his work in Jesus Christ, maybe we need to be a bit less boastful. Now mind you he has 14 previous chapters he has already shared with the Roman Christians, so the relationship is always there. But I believe our calling is to point to Jesus Christ, and get out of the way.
Being a bit humble, and being open to hearing what others have to say is also a way of honoring others. I may be wrong, but this is what I believe to be right.
What nametag are you wearing today?
Let us Pray: Dear God, you are right and true and worthy of all honor and praise. May we always turn the spotlight on you. In Jesus’ name we HUMBLY pray. Amen.